NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Quickly Saving for Christmas

Quickly Saving for Christmas


          The best time to plan for the next event is right after the first one, but if like most Americans you did not start planning for this year’s holiday gift giving last year – it’s not too late.  Following are some great ways to save money while celebrating the season.

          Start with a budget.  Maybe you have $200 to spend on Christmas gifts. Maybe you have $20.  Decide what figure is appropriate for you and write it at the top of a piece of paper.           List each person with whom you plan to exchange gifts. Arrange these names in order of priority appropriate for your circumstances.  Jot down an approximate budget for each individual on the list. Adjust the dollar amounts until the total of the individual budgets equals your overall holiday budget.

          Brainstorm gift ideas for each person. Write each idea under the person’s name. After you’ve brainstormed ideas, calculate approximate costs for each gift. Write the cost next to the name of the gift.  It’s very likely that your brainstormed list exceeds your planned budget, possibly by a large amount. Now it gets tough. Reduce your planned spending by finding new, less expensive items for people, or by crossing people from the list.

          Agree to New Traditions

          Gift-giving among adults can be awkward.  Many families choose to focus on the amount of fun in a gift rather than the amount of dollars.  What interesting, thoughtful gift could your family members find for each other for just five or ten dollars?  Others agree to only give presents to the children in the group. Still others choose to support charities in lieu of gifts. This relieves the adults of the pressure to buy gifts for each and to not over participate in the mad rush of consumerism during the holiday season.

          One last important piece of advice: if your family (or circle of friends) agrees to gift-giving guidelines, don’t be the person who breaks them. People feel resentful when one person takes it upon herself to give more than the agreed terms. Stay within the rules and have fun.

          Think Outside the Box

          For most people, Christmas gifts mean shopping at the mall. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Many wonderful gifts aren’t tangible items purchased from a store.  Personal gift certificates make great gifts. In essence, these are gifts of time. Give new parents a gift certificate for a night of baby-sitting so that they can enjoy a night on the town. Are you good with computers?  Give your brother-in-law a gift certificate for free computer repairs.  Do it Yourself- My favorite gifts are those that people have made themselves.  Homemade gifts demonstrate caring and creativity and are a wonderful way to share a part of yourself with someone this holiday season.


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